Ed. note: this post has been updated to include more recent comments from the admin of the Hillbilly CAST IRON Cooking page, Jeff Shear. As we understand it, he has continued to refuse offers for completely free power chairs from people around the country.
Well hi there! We have an interesting one for you today, which only unfolded this afternoon.
Last night, I was alerted to the Hillbilly CAST Iron Cooking page on Facebook, which exists — or appears to exist — as a haven to cast iron cooking fans around the world. Nearly half a million of them, in fact. So far so good.
Recently, a GoFundMe page appeared among the cast iron recipes, causing fans to wonder what happened to the page admin? Note: no one seems to know who owns the page, and no mention of any health issues was made until the GoFundMe page made its debut, as we understand it. [Ed. note: it was later confirmed that the page belongs to Jeff Shear, who does in fact exist]
You’ll note the broken English (my cat could probably write better than that), which isn’t always a red flag on its own based on the state of our public school systems but when other red flags exist, it’s certainly worth consideration.
Now, the evidence added up in the aggregate. For example, this is a popular spammer technique to get innocent people to share their link without even realizing they’re sharing it. See how it is hidden there above a call-to-action pic that many people can no doubt identify with? Scammer 101, you guys.
Then we have this, which is another typical scammer trick to guilt people into donating. You’ll again note the horrible English which reads less like an American 3rd grade dropout and more like someone sitting in a Nigerian cybercafe for whom English is not a first language.
Failing that, there’s always a little bit of total lack of awareness, such as the page sharing this.
Being the generous, awesome person that I am (LOL), I took it upon myself to offer up a free chair from my (made up) uncle’s (made up) chair factory. You know, as an experiment. I have blurred names of others commenting on the post, that’s me the big sexy black bar.
Within a matter of minutes, my comments were gone. And I’ve been blocked from the page.
So, while we like to give people the benefit of the doubt, we have every reason to believe this is a total scam. It’s possible the Hillbilly CAST IRON Cooking page was legitimate and has been hijacked by a scammer, but it’s also possible the page was created for the sole purpose of scamming people. It’s been active since 2013 though, three years seems like an awfully long time to cut and paste cast iron recipes only to share a measly $6000 GoFundMe page.
Please report the GoFundMe page as fraudulent. Mr Shear has been offered countless free power chairs, he continues to refuse them. We’re 99.9% sure he isn’t a Nigerian scammer at this point, which almost makes it worse in a way.
Be careful out there, y’all, not even cast iron is safe!
Update [June 2016]: We regret to pass along that Hillbilly CAST IRON Cooking page owner Jeff Shear’s 15-year-old son, Jeffrey Shear Jr, has died in an apparent suicide after throwing himself in front of a train. A separate GoFundMe campaign for his burial collected nearly $4000. In what should be a time of mourning, Shear is using the death to promote his GoFundMe page.
Update [December 2016]: After criticisms surrounding the vague, unintelligible language used in his original campaign description, it was rewritten by his surviving son Dylan.
The elder Shear has pinned the GoFundMe campaign to the top of his Facebook page, and most recently went on an expletive-filled rant which has since been deleted from the page.
To date, he’s raised $675. He continues to block anyone who criticizes his campaign.